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BRICS Summit? What BRICS Summit, Kim just stole the show!

North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test threatens to overshadow China’s BRICS Summit and compel Beijing to instrumentalize its vital aid as a punishment against its neighbor in order to save face before the international community, thereby falling into a dangerous trap that the US may have set for it.

Andrew Korybko

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Kim Jong-Un conducted his country’s sixth nuclear test, this time experimenting with an ICBM-capable hydrogen bomb that’s reportedly the strongest munition that it’s ever wielded. Analysts had been warning that a move such as this could have been expected for some time, but it nevertheless caught observers off guard that it occurred right on the eve of China’s BRICS Summit in Xiamen.

This fact alone disproves the Mainstream Media-promulgated lie that North Korea is purportedly China’s puppet, since Beijing in no way approves of what just happened and is actually incensed that the young Kim is trying to steal the spotlight during the most important event that the People’s Republic has hosted all year. Just a few months ago during the Belt and Road Summit, Kim did the same thing, except that time he provocatively test-fired a missile instead.

He’s clearly outdone himself this time with the H-Bomb test, which was a message to China just as much as it was one to the US. Everyone’s aware of why Pyongyang and Washington are at odds, but comparatively few people even recognize that there’s an ever-widening chasm of distrust between China and North Korea.

There was a time when North Korea was solidly under Chinese influence, but those days are long gone, especially now that Kim Jong-Un is in charge. The youthful leader (or the junta behind him, depending on who the reader believes is truly calling the shots in the Hermit Kingdom) has figured out that he can extract concessions more successfully from China than from the US, but has overplayed his hand and is now in danger of losing it all.

China’s security interests vis-a-vis North Korea are simple enough — prevent the US military from ever again reaching the banks of the Yalu River like during the early days of the Korean War (which implies working against a reunification solution that could allow just that), and uphold stability in North Korea through food and other forms of limited aid in order to avoid a human tidal wave of Weapons of Mass Migration swarming across the border if the state collapses.

North Korea acutely understands this state of affairs, hence why it assumed that it could do whatever it wanted in terms of weapons tests and the like while taking the aforesaid Chinese aid for granted, but that appears to be changing now because of just how much he’s embarrassed China, which admittedly seems to have been on purpose.

It can never be known with any certain degree of accuracy what Kim Jong-Un or his junta backers are thinking, but observations about North Korea’s behavior suggest that it’s intentionally trying to irk China a bit because it might have gotten too paranoid about the prospects of Beijing cutting a deal with Washington against Pyongyang. Ironically, however, North Korea appears to be making this fear a self-fulfilling prophecy through its short-term actions of always trying to upstage China in the international arena.

Instead of resulting in more aid, which for all intents and purposes serves the role of bribes for the North Korean “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies), Kim Jong-Un risks forcing China to downscale the said assistance in order to save face in front of the international community and consequently endanger the stability of his country.

As respectable of a goal as the Juche self-reliance ideology may be, it’s practically impossible for North Korea to implement under contemporary international conditions because it lacks the natural and agricultural resources to do so, thereby making its survival dependent on China for the foreseeable future, and trapping Beijing in a relationship of complex interdependency that the US is more than eager to exploit to its gain.

Washington never misses the chance to draw attention to this relationship in order to pressure Beijing to “do more” against Pyongyang, knowing full well that the only outcome of this policy is that China would decrease or cut off its aid to North Korea and resultantly destabilize its most unpredictable and nuclear-armed neighbor. The end goal, as the US hopes it will be, is to redirect or at least “rebalance” some of North Korea’s military attention against its former patron, which might be an implied American precondition for holding the one-on-one talks that Kim Jong-Un has said that he wants.

The only scenario in which North Korea would lash out against China is if the latter goes along with US suggestions in squeezing the country through a diminishment of aid, which could endanger its stability to the point of putting Beijing in Pyongyang’s nuclear crosshairs just as Seoul, Tokyo, and Guam currently are.

If the US felt that it had successfully turned the two former allies into hated enemies just like it did with the USSR and China in the Old Cold War and is actively working to do as regards China and India in the New Cold War, then it’s expected that Washington would tone down its hostility towards Pyongyang and possibly reinitiate one-on-one talks, keenly understanding that this would unbalance North Korea’s military attention for the time being by making it relatively more concentrated against Beijing in that case.

The point here isn’t to actually resolve North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue, but to simply redirect or “rebalance” the targeted focus against China, in which case could the West would then attempt to replace Beijing as North Korea’s most important donor and reverse the complex interdependency relationship.

It should be remembered at all times that if North Korea’s small number of nuclear weapons are a credible deterrent to the US, then they’re even more effective in this capacity against China, which has comparatively less nuclear potential than America and is much easier for North Korea to inflict substantial damage against due to its obvious geographic proximity.

For this reason alone, it’s plausible that the US is attempting to manipulate North Korea into behaving belligerently against China in order to achieve this dreamed-of goal, but that this can only happen if Washington is able to engineer the circumstances under which Beijing would instrumentalize its vital aid to Pyongyang as a punishment for its missile and nuclear tests, ergo the recent US provocations which pushed North Korea into testing its H-Bomb on the eve of China’s BRICS Summit.

Should the US-controlled Mainstream Media succeed in shaping the perception that Kim’s latest nuclear test overshadowed China’s BRICS Summit, then Beijing might fall into the trap of de-facto sanctioning North Korea via a dramatic downscaling of its aid in order to save face before the international community, though with the inadvertent risk of becoming the new object of Kim Jong-Un’s ire if this move ends up seriously threatening the stability of his government.

There’s no “good way” to deal with North Korea, and it might turn out that this is the “least bad” option that China has available, but either way, the consequences of this action hold the very real threat of backfiring on Beijing and working out to the US and, interestingly enough, even Kim Jong-Un’s grand strategic favor if both play their cards right and cut the ultimate “win-win” deal against the People’s Republic.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

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Shannon
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Shannon

This is a very logical, reasonable, well thought out analysis. But I can’t believe that China (as in the PLA) would ever be “surprised” by North Korea. Surely, they have precise Intel about all of Pyongyang ‘s moves.

Jon Burness
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Jon Burness

I would think China and NK, are working together behind the scenes

Shannon
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Shannon

Me too. Difficult to prove, though.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

Your might find this an interesting read in support of your statement: http://www.globalresearch.ca/avoiding-nuclear-war-why-kim-jong-uns-strategy-makes-sense/5603657

7.62x54r
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7.62x54r

Seems absurd that NK would militarily threaten China with its nukes. The US might have turned China against the USSR 50 years ago, but NK will never trust the US.

seby
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seby

Indeed absurd. Even more absurd to anulyse any US msm anulysis. BS and gossip factor high.

Dorthyredison
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Dorthyredison

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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“- There is no combination of U.S. sanctions, threats, or pressures that will make Beijing take steps that are fundamentally contrary to China’s vital national security interests. (Here, the «vital national security» of China means just that, not the way U.S. policymakers routinely abuse the term to mean anything they don’t like even if it has nothing to do with American security, much less with America’s survival.) Aside from speculation (which is all it is) that China could seek to engineer an internal coup to overthrow Kim in favor of a puppet administration, maintaining the current odious regime is Beijing’s… Read more »

Le Ruscino
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Le Ruscino

Did anyone ever think that NK was China’s “SHOW” all along to dismantle US bases & begin Dollar transition from US Dollar to Chinese Dollar? 1 – US dare not attack NK under any circumstances so Trump is on a hook he can’t get off easily 2 – US Dollar hegemony is built today solely on the strength of US Military 3 – NK is as disposable to China as SK is to USA but neither will pull the trigger 4 – US Military weakness has been exposed in Syria & recent Naval disasters For US to now do nothing… Read more »

Anthony Enos Wicher
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Anthony Enos Wicher

The only way to deal with North Korea is cooperation between the U.S. and China, not this endless geopolitical maneuvering.

John Karimi
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John Karimi

I don’t see this move at all as a surprise and face losing act by Pyongyang. It drives home the message to the US that military options are out of the question when trying to deal with North Korea. China has every interest in sending that message and showing Washington that no matter what economic sanctions Trump may threaten China with if it does not reign in Kim, in the end the one deciding over these matters is North Korea itself. North Korea somehow initiating secret deals with the US against China seems even more outlandish, considering it is the… Read more »

220VOLTS
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220VOLTS

Unfortunately, for the US, Kim is the one holding the moral high ground here. It’s painfully clear that the US is using South Korea as a vassal state when a US General says Seoul was “appeasing” the North. Listen; the Korean peninsula belongs to the Korean people. If the South wants to make nice with Pyongyang – so be it.
Let’s get those 30,000 US troops out of the South and let the Koreans settle the matter between themselves (just like the US did in its Civil War.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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